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Is Falcon Lake Still Good?


(soft music) (music amplifies) – [Wade] It’s 102
degrees right now, on a hot early August day, basically and we are talking
about water temperatures are gonna be
approaching probably 90. Lake is about 30 foot
low here at Falcon, but this is one of the
best lakes in the nation. Got Gene Eisenmann going
out on the water with me. And when you’re at Falcon, any given cast could
produce a giant, or it just might be a 12 incher, you never know til
you go wet a line. Falcon Lake, one of the best
fishing lakes in the nation. It’s located on the
US Mexico border. Impounded back in 1954 when the
Rio Grande river was dammed. The end result of the damming
of that river in that area, has been a fisherman’s dream. Personally, I’ve always
said Falcon Lake is one of the best fishing
lakes in the nation. I’ve been fishing in Falcon
lake for about 25 years. And I was lucky enough to spend some time learning
a lot about its history. About how this lake fished by some great
fisherman down there. Guys like Mike Cox and Speedy
Collett and the Heralsons that live down there,
that talk about it and shared insight on
what this lake cycles and how it goes through those. How with the lakes
glow it can be tough, how when it’s got a big flood and been flooded for a long time when those fish come outta
that brush they’ve got big eyes and what it means to
fish on this lake. So I understand the ebb
and flow of that lake and what we’re gonna look
at in this show is some past trips that we’ve
done on Falcon Lake. But we’re also gonna talk about how this lake fishes
both good and bad. One of my favorite
trips down there, a few years back was
Jeff Kriet and I. Jeff and I go back
decades, as little kids. Dreaming about fishing on TV, dreaming about being
tournament anglers and doing all these things we’re both fortunate
enough to do now. In fact, while we were
on that trip down there, we’re laughing about him
being a guest on my show and I’m catching them on one
of his signature series baits. Come here, buddy. That’s mine. It’s a double, dude. I should’ve had a double. Come here, buddy,
double trouble. Oh, yeah! – Good one. – I’ll lift him for you. – You will? – Yeah, I will. – I’ll lift him for you, honey. Get him, get him,
get him, get him! (laughing) – Nice.
– Dude, he ate that thing. – He’s gonna mess with you. He caught that one. – That’s a good one, dude. – Nice one, Wade. – [Wade] See I lift your fish, you’re not gonna
lift mine, are you? Look at the head on that fish. That’s what I’m talking about. – [Man] Nice one. – [Wade] I got it
down in this cruncher. Falcon Lake, generally
is considered kind of a relatively
shallow sloping lake, it’s got lots of rocky points that come off with
little drop offs on it. At times, you’re gonna
have a tremendous amount of cover to fish and at times you’re not gonna
have a lot of cover to fish, based on the large fluctuations
on this body of water. It’s not uncommon to see 30 and 40 foot swings in the water
level on this lake based on irrigation needs downstream
when Mexico’s taking a lot of water and simply
put, drought. When the lake is low, you’re gonna see a tremendous
amount of house foundations and big timber down along
the Rio Grande channel. This is a great thing
to be able to mark with your GPS when you come
back when the water’s high, because those are basically
fish condos when the water’s up, that you can catch them as fast as you can find them on there. Secondly, when the water’s high and it’s been low
for a long time, you can expect to find acres and acres of native
south Texas brush, it’s just Mesquite, Huisache, Saltcedar and others
lining the base. In fact, some of that cover
can stretch for miles when you go back in to
some of those creeks. And literally not have been
accessible for years to come. But when you can get
behind some of that brush, after the lake’s
been low, hold on, you’re gonna find some
incredible fishing. – [Narrator] Coming up on The
Cabela’s Fisherman’s Handbook, Wade and Gene hit the
dam of Falcon Lake. The Fisherman’s Handbook is
brought to you in part by, Cabela’s, it’s in your nature. Yamaha marine,
reliability starts here. And by Ranger Boats,
still building legends. Wade and pro angler Gene
Eisenmann are hitting the waters of Falcon Lake in south Texas. And are going to start
this morning at the dam. – The dam. There’s always a bass living
on the dam, somewhere. (soft guitar) Didn’t take long. Not a big one. – We’re gonna be
tied at a pound. (laughing) Not even that. – There’s another one. Sucker just roped me off. There’s just so many fish
that live on the dam, so many different species, too. You never know,
what it’s gonna be. – [Gene] Literally,
I will never ever, come to a lake and
not consider the dam. It’s just one of
those deals that a lot of times it’s the only
vertical structure on the lake. And they’re born here. They never move from here. – This dam has produced
many big stringers, but you can sure go down it
and catch little ones, too. You just gotta hit them when they’re in the right
school pulls up on it. – There he is. – Good call. – It’s a little bit
better age class. – That’s so fun. Come here, buddy. Little better. Little bit better one right
there, what we were looking for. Come down here. It’s just amazing how many fish, can be caught, in a place like this. Nice little bass right there. – [Gene] That’s what I love
about a dam in the morning, is all that activity. – So much going on. – [Gene] You can
make ten passes. – They’re just constantly moving
up and down and reloading. There’s just,
everything’s alive. You don’t ever know
what it’s gonna be. And later on in the day, you can easily go finesse
fishing along the dam, you see guys
dragging drive shots and shaky heads and catching
them the whole time. Long and skinny. – [Gene] What’s that one,
your eighth one on that one? (laughing) – There he is. Better one there. – That’s one of those
fish you can see on that depth finder out there. Nope, still a small one. Little better. – Come here. Boy, he smacked it. – Think that’s the one
you saw on the ground. – Probably, saw him
sitting down there. I love it when you
can do that, though. You turn around and
you can look at him, you see him on the
electronics and go, “Hmm, let’s back up here.” It’s amazing. What electronics have done to change the game
of bass fishing. Cane thumper. – Oh, did you catch
him on the canes? – Yeah. That’s a good one right there. – [Narrator] The Fisherman’s
Handbook is brought to you in part by, Garmin, fight your fish,
not your fish finder. Bradley Smoker, food
smoking made easy. Engel Coolers, a
legend in reliability. Sawyer Products, we
keep you outdoors. – [Wade] You know
we’re sitting out here and water temperature’s
about 82 degrees right now and we’re on a dam. And there’s dams all
over the United States, this just happens
to be Falcon Lake and I’ve been dragging this big little John’s Spro
DD pretty deep. And I just lost one in the rocks and that’s gonna
happen out here when you’re fishing rocks
on a dam or anywhere, you’re gonna get hung up. But just retied, I’m using
ten pound sun line super mono and I’m making really,
really long casts right now and once I reel it
down I’m actually just kinda pulling my bait. When I hit that
drop off you can see the fish on the depth
finder, they’re stacked up and they just literally
load up on it. Gene is mixing it up, he’s
throwing a Carolina rig with a coontail worm on
the back by Big Bite. He’s throwing all
kinds of other baits. But right now in my opinion, this is the bait to be throwing. – [Narrator] As Wade
and Gene continue to whack them here on the dam, let’s take a look back
on a highlight moment of Wade’s experience on Falcon. – One of my most popular videos that I’ve ever done was
a result of Scott Martin and I deciding to do a
lake versus lake challenge. Scott’s the host of the very
popular Scott Martin Challenge. And he wanted to put Okeechobee
up against Falcon Lake. He probably picked a bad time to have those two
lakes going head to head against each other because Falcon was
really on the upswing. I was working my way deep
back up in the brush in to some areas that
probably hadn’t seen a lot of fishing pressure in
no telling how long. It was an old power line
that I was catching fish on. An old bridge, as well as
what looked like to me, just basically could be a trail. And I was throwing a
custom made spinner bait by a guy down there
from Falcon Lake, which makes this bait called
the Joe Baby spinner bait and it was designed to be able to handle this tough
cover and obviously a lot of the big fish
that I was catching. That’s a freaking giant. That’s one we can coil with. Stay out of the brush,
stay out of the brush. Stay out of the motor. Yeah, baby! That’s a good one! Spinner bait just fell out! There’s you a Falcon good one. (laughing) And at the end of the day, well, you gotta listen
to what happened. – I had a phenomenal
day out here, I know that you caught a ton
of fish, Lake Falcon’s on fire. Lake Okeechobee showed off
a little bit today, as well. But I tell you what, man, we
had a five fish stringer today, a challenge, and I want to hear what
your weight is today. – When you got cold rings
and fish of that size, you know you’ve been catching
some freaking monsters. I don’t know if our bag’s
gonna be big enough. For all of these guys
that are going in here. (laughing) I freaking got a bag. All I can do is laugh. My bag is outta size. That’s our smallest bass. Right there. I can’t even tell. Well, like you said, Okeechobee
and Falcon are just on fire. They’re destinations
that are famous. They’ve been well
written for years and I got five fish for
37 pounds and 11 ounces. – 47 pounds, 11 ounces? 37, 11? Oh, my gosh. All right, here’s
what mine weigh. Here’s what mine weigh. My five bass stringer on Lake Okeechobee
weighs 34 pounds even. 34, that makes you Wade
Middleton, the champion. Another great trip down to Falcon Lake was
with David Walker, the lake had been
low for some time. And most of the locals
were talking about, “Dude, it’s hard to
catch them down there, don’t even bother going down, you’ll be lucky to catch
three or four fish.” but we wanted to
go down to Falcon, we wanted to spend some time
down there and look at it and see if there was
a way to catch them. In David’s mind,
there’s always a way to catch fish no
matter where they are. He feels like there’s gonna
be some way, some how, every place you
go to catch them. And like always,
David was right. He figured them out. You got him? – Yup, coming out of there. That’s when you need
some braid right there. – [Wade] That’s when the
braid comes in handy. – [David] He’s wrapped. – [Wade] That’s where
the braid comes in handy. You can lie and say he
was 12 pounds if got away. – I was planning on it. – [Wade] He would
throw his jig in there, and he would
literally let it sit. Like a guy would take the soft plastic bait in the spring time and wait for the fish
to load up on it. The results were obvious. David out caught me six,
seven, eight fish to one. And the size of his fish,
no question about it, we’re a lot bigger than mine. That’s one of the most
exciting things about fishing with people that come
to your body of water that you think
you’re pretty good on and do something different
when you can’t catch them. To open your mind up on
other ways to catch them. – Nice one, that’s
a heavy fish, there. Weighs a lot. – [Wade] He had a
lot to eat down here. – Get back in there. We have been
managing to disprove. – All the theories
everybody said. – All the rumors. – Isn’t that funny? how often do you try
to listen to doc talk or not listen or do
your own research? – No you need to take
all of what you hear with a grain of salt. Normally, there’s
a whole process of misinformation out there. – Yeah. – You gotta trust the source. If it’s just somebody walking up to you and telling you
something like that, there’s a good possibility. – [Wade] You also gotta
catch your own fish. Don’t you think? – [David] You do. It’s hard to catch
other peoples fish. There’s a lot of
times guys you trust, you know will tell
you a place to go and a way to fish it and if it’s not a technique or something you’re
real familiar with, it won’t matter, you
won’t catch them there. – [Wade] There’s
a pretty good one. I went to the right tree,
he went to the left tree, obviously I went
to the wrong tree. (laughing) That one took you
around the tree. – [David] Bad choice. Come here, you. – [Wade] I went to the
wrong direction on the tree. – Fishing down here is terrible. (laughing) What I like best
about my job is, it’s like putting a
puzzle together every day. It’s never the same. You maybe go in to it with expectations of
it being the same. But for whatever reason, little things will change
and make big differences. So then, your big idea
that you had planned, many times just falls apart and you gotta build it
all back together again. – When you look at
how David caught them and everybody else was saying we pretty much couldn’t
catch them down there, it just goes to show
it may get tough, but you can go down there
and have an opportunity to catch some giants when you go to Falcon Lake no matter
what the conditions are. I look back at another trip
and this one goes back in to the history of us
fishing on Falcon Lake. We did one of those old
Texas Oklahoma shootouts. Where, Kelly Jordon and Jeff
Kriet, picked some top anglers, we went down and had a
team event over a few days. And the result was, if you
didn’t catch 30 pounds of fish, you probably lost your match and I have great time
on that trip there, fishing with Kelly, fishing
with Mark and seeing what was to come for Falcon Lake, because this was right
before you started to hear about this most
recent surge at Falcon Lake, before some of the big
tournaments went down and started catching 100
pound limits for four days. – [Narrator] We wrap up on
Falcon Lake, when we return. The Fisherman’s Handbook is
brought to you in part by, Hobie Fishing,
MirageDrive pedal systems. FoodSaver, the number one
vacuum sealing system. Big Bite Baits, designed to
bring the big bite to your line. – [Wade] Gene and I have
gotten really lucky. We landed right on top
of a big school of fish. They’re not giant. But what they’re telling
me is look at the future of Falcon Lake, I don’t
know, 70 to 90 fish that day. The Garmin was literally lit
up the entire time we were there with fish on the side,
on top of the drop off, we were catching them
on a mix of soft backs, things like the Big
Bite coon tail worm. Throwing Spro crank baits from shallow running to deep
running. There for a while, it was almost
literally every cast with fish that we
found within range. So looking ahead folks, Falcon Lake is gonna
be shining again. So be planning some
trips down there, because those little three
pounders are gonna go to four, five, six, seven and
eventually be 10 pounders. Wind started blowing,
you got it him? Coming back, you got it. – He’s a big one. – He’s thrashing a
little bit better. Oh, yeah! A lot better fish right there. (laughing) – And he’s acrobatic. – [Wade] Didn’t I tell you
the right bait to throw? – You did. – [Wade] You up sized. You got the biggie
size on that one. Nice. – [Gene] Those are the ones I
prefer to catch all the time. – [Wade] That’s a good one. That’s a good old
Falcon Lake bass. It’s just amazing how many
good quality fish live in this lake and how many
you can catch going up and down good stretches. Falcon goes through so many
ebbs and flows as a lake because of the water,
goes up and goes down. But you get these big
floods after its been down and the lake gets fresh again. This is the end result, it’s
like fishing a new lake. – [Gene] You never hook them
this good in a tournament. If you can mentally
look up there and, follow the line of that
embankment all the way out to the water, it’s kind of
where we’re getting every bite. – [Wade] Yeah, it’s
just a big drop off. Then there’s drop offs like
that where there’s the roll of the rocks or what ever it is all across the nation on dams. That’s awesome. Falcon Lake, it’s
on the up swing. I really feel excited
about its future, it went low, now
it’s come back high. You can see by the evidence
of all the fish that Gene and I caught, the fishing’s
really gonna be looking good. Planning a trip to Falcon
Lake, be vigilant, though. You are on the
Texas Mexico border, but I will tell you this, I feel safer down
there on the water than I do in downtown of a
lot of big cities I travel to. But I keep my eyes
open all the time, because you never know
what’s going on around you in that body of water, so
just keep your eyes open. Just like you should
anywhere you go. When your planning your
tackle and picking your gear, don’t bring your finesse
stuff down there. Not saying you’re
not gonna catch them, not saying you might
not catch the fish of a lifetime doing
finesse baits, but I like to go big. Big
gear, big line, big baits, and try to target some
of those bigger fish. – [Narrator] That’ll do it for The Cabela’s
Fisherman’s Handbook. We’ll see you next time! (upbeat music) – Come here, buddy. He jumped off! He’s so big, I didn’t
want you to see him. (laughing) – I saw him, that’s
your problem, I saw him. Ain’t no stories on that one. – He smoked that sucker too, I thought I had me about a 10
pounder, the way he loaded up.

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